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Viva seals $280m Shariah financing deal

Manama, February 2, 2011

Viva Bahrain, the newest player in the Kingdom's telecom sector, has signed a $280 million Shariah compliant financing facility with two of the region’s key financial institutions, HSBC and Saudi-based Samba.

The facility is seen as a highly sought after opportunity to establish long term business partnership with Saudi Telecom Company's wholly-owned subsidiary brand named Viva in Bahrain.

There was intense competition amongst the financial institutions in the region. The final selection included HSBC Bahrain and Saudi-based Samba, said a company statement.

The financing facility was shared by HSBC ($100 million) and Samba ($180 million). It is denominated mostly in dollars to take advantage of the relatively low cost of financing although part of the facility is in Saudi Riyals and Bahraini Dinars too.

Commenting on the deal, STC vice president (finance) Ameen Al Shiddi, said it was keen to expand its global operations in order to enhance the group’s overall profitability.

“Because of STC’s excellent credit rating and strong business fundamentals, we were able to leverage our relationships with financial institutions to support Viva Bahrain’s financing facility at competitive rates,” he added.

Viva Bahrain has positioned itself as one of the preferred operators in Bahrain capturing a healthy market share during the first ten months of launch.

Its management has been buoyed by the unprecedented customer demand from the Bahraini market, encouraging it to expand faster than planned.

“We are very pleased about the closure of the financing facility and we look at both HSBC and Samba as our strategic partners in our growth.Viva is committed to serving the community in Bahrain with innovative offerings at affordable prices,” said Viva CEO, Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al Omar.

“In 2011, we will continue to enhance our offerings with innovative and easy to understand value-added services for our customers that will enrich their lives,” he added.

Zaki Al-Yahya, country head PS & FI of Samba said “We are proud to have been able to underscore this strong relationship between STC companies and Samba.”

HSBC CEO Patrick Gallagher said the bank was delighted to assist Viva with this very important financing and 'we look forward to working as a key partner with the company in the future.'

Viva proved to be an exceptional operator and have experienced remarkable demand in the first few months of its operations which resulted in the requirement for further investment in the company to enhance the products and services provided in the upcoming stage, said Al Omar.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Viva | Shariah financing deal |

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